After two car accidents, Thomas acquired a brain injury and his life changed forever. Luckily, he was able to move into an Anvers home, where he received support from Acquired Brain Injury Ireland (ABII) and he rebuilt his life. Read Thomas’ story below.
In 2005, the aftermath of Thomas’ second car accident left him with an acquired brain injury. He was unable to walk or talk. His doctors were surprised he had survived – they called him a walking miracle. Thomas had to relearn everything from the beginning. Thankfully, he was allocated a place in one of Anvers Housing’s group homes in Clarecastle. With the right support, including from ABII, he began to improve. He learned how to move and talk again with physiotherapy and speech and language therapy. He also worked with ABII in Clarecastle to learn to live a more independent life after brain injury.
With a location not too far from his family home, Thomas is happy to be living in Clarecastle. He describes it as ‘a home from home’. He is very comfortable there and enjoys Sunday visits with his uncle, which are only possible because he is living so close to his hometown. It is important for Thomas to be able to socialise with his family, as well as the other residents in the house. Thomas gets on well with his housemates and enjoys the “banter” there.
They each cook once a week and help with any chores that need to be done. Thomas cooks on a Tuesday, does washing once weekly, mops and sweeps the floors, and engages in other activities of daily living, all to empower him to live more independently.
Thomas is proud to be living with independence and to be able to make his own decisions in the house. In the weeks and months after his brain injury, he would not have thought it possible. He has his own room in Clarecastle where he keeps his All-Ireland jerseys that were signed by the team. This is so important to Thomas because he was always an active member of the GAA and won two All-Ireland medals while hurling for Clare.
While Thomas is living as independently as possible, he still has 24/7 support to hand from ABII, and this gives him peace of mind. He knows he is never alone and that he has the right support. Thomas finds the support team in his Clarecastle home extremely helpful and he feels very looked after.
There is a beautiful garden in Thomas’ Clarecastle home, where he spends a lot of his time. He has learnt from the local gardener at the house and enjoys watering plants and watching them grow. Living in Clarecastle has also allowed Thomas to resume carpentry, which he was always very good at. Thomas was a qualified carpenter for years before his brain injury and he is delighted to be able to work with his hands again. He has built many window boxes and flower boxes for the house. He couldn’t imagine what his life would be like without his two passions and having the support to fulfil them. When he’s not gardening or enjoying woodwork, Thomas loves to go to the local coffee shop or sometimes he will venture into town.
Living in Clarecastle has helped to rebuild Thomas’ life. Ultimately, he would love to live under his own roof. Like many of the Anvers Housing tenants, independence is what he strives for. But in the meantime, Anvers Housing allows Thomas the independence he needs while also enabling access to important support and his local community.
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